The Landlord Advice Team is receiving an increasing amount of calls on Right to Rent as Monday’s deadline looms. Many callers want to know the basics – What does Right to Rent mean and what do I have to do?
Today’s caller wanted to know about how the new rules would affect him as a student landlord.
If you are letting out a property in England from 1st February 2016 you will need to ensure that your tenant(s) have the Right to Rent.
The right to rent checks apply to all residential tenancies, not only Assured Short hold tenancies, but also lodger agreements or company lets.
So what is “Right to rent?”
Right to rent simply means that the occupier has a right to rent a property in the UK. Anyone without it is disqualified from renting. People may have a permanent or time limited right to rent.
British citizens, European Economic Area nationals and Swiss nationals are classed as permanent residents. There are some other smaller groups as well but the key point is that there is no time limit on their stay in the UK. As such, landlords or agents only need to check the occupiers once, up to 29 days before the tenancy agreement is signed.
The member then asked “what is a time limited right to rent?”
I asked him at this point whether the students he planned on housing were from inside the European Economic Area? It turned out they were actually from China, Turkey and Russia so they would be students with a time limited right to rent.
Before the landlord could legally rent out the property, he would have to take one piece of ID from list B in the government’s code of practice and satisfy himself that it was not an obvious forgery. He also needed to keep a record of when the time limit on this ID would expire.
I explained to the member that landlords must not authorise an adult to occupy a property as their only or main home unless they can establish the adult has a right to reside in the UK.
This means landlords are now required to check the identification of everyone who is at least 18 years old and expected to occupy the property. In his case, because the students were on a time limited right to rent, he would also need to check the students right to rent again within 29 days before their permission to stay ran out. Or, if the student visas were less than 12 months long he’d need to check within 29 days before the 12 month anniversary of his first check.
I advised the member to take copies of all of the original documents and keep them in a safe place. This should be stored for up to 12 months after the end of the tenancy.
If the member was unsure of the documents I advised him he could find links to the government’s sample pictures or the very helpful website in our guide to right to rent.
For members who would like more details about Right to Rent the RLA is running training courses, giving an overview of UK immigration law and acceptable documentation.